Wallpaper Border Restoration

We recently worked on reproducing and matching a wallpaper border pattern for a home renovation.

On the plus side, this project had a lot of pros:

  • Small, repeatable surface area
  • Well conserved sample with hardly any dust or staining
  • Clear separation of colors

On the other hand, there were some unique challenges:

  • Tiny scrapes and tears throughout the original wallpaper sample
  • More than 6 colors to match, adding complexity and time to the proofing process
  • new wallpaper must match existing installation
  • A small portion of the pattern is missing and must be recreated/drawn by hand

We addressed these concerns in that exact order:

1. Repair Damage Digitally

We eliminate scuff marks, tears and other imperfections using Adobe Photoshop. This task requires patience and proficiency with the clone stamp tool and spot healing brush.

Side by side comparison of damaged wallpaper sample and a digitally restored copy

NOTE: In rare cases you can paint directly with colors using the paintbrush, but this is only when the original art is a completely solid tone. Most digital scans reveal what we perceive as a solid color is often made up of a noisy rainbow of similar colors. Painting a flat color against this subtle noise is more obvious in the final print, than what you will see on your computer monitor.

2. Restore Missing Graphics

Image of wallpaper sample with a missing piece

This part of the design process requires professional scanning of the original sample and some creative thinking on the designers part.

You can clearly see how part of the bird’s head is missing on the left. Thankfully this is a symmetrical layout and we can sample from the other side. Make your selection, duplicate it on a separate layer, then flip it horizontally to fill in the missing gap.

Screenshot of a restored portion of a wallpaper pattern

NOTE: You will want to zoom in pretty close (200%-300%) in order to ensure that these sections are matching and blended sufficiently.

3. Separate & Isolate Each Color

While there are a lot of colors to match, another benefit of this design is that it has clear color boundaries and the contrast between individual colors is quite pronounced. In these cases we can rely on the in “Color Range Selection”, always taking great care to tweak the tolerance and number of sampled colors to ensure a clean layer.

Screenshot of Photoshop's Color Selection Tool

Once a color is selected a duplicate of the current layer can be created, which copies only the selected pixels. We repeat this process until our original file has each color living on a separate layer.

Image showing isolated colors from a wallpaper sample

4. Printing a Press Proof Sample

With full control over individual colors established, we provide a number of color variants for our client to review. This is accomplished by using The Pantone Formula Guide. This color matching tool and guide is the best way to select and match specific colors. We then build color variants by adjusting the saturation and brightness of each unique/selected color.

This is an effective way to account for variations in wallpaper finishes which can affect color, and is specifically useful when someone is trying to match and build upon an existing wallpaper in an old house.

Photo of a wallpaper color sample placed on a table

Once we’ve received confirmation the wallpaper colors were a match, the job went into production and was shipped to the client within a few days and loved the final results.

Screenshot of a 5 star client review

Conclusion

It’s normal to be concerned about missing pieces of a wallpaper pattern, but ultimately we made short work of it with some outside the box thinking. The most time consuming portion of this project was cleaning up the sample and removing the small, but consistent signs of wear and tear throughout the pattern.

We’ve had to handle far more complex wallpaper patterns - masking out entire sections by hand, drawing patterns from scratch, scanning and digitally enhancing colors that have faded for over 200 years, but we will have to save that for the next wallpaper case study.

About the Author

Steven Garcia is a multimedia artist & graphic illustrator from Brooklyn, New York. With an extensive background in fine art and history, Steven currently oversees prepress operations at Fine Print’s Restoration Department - industry leader in digital recovery of rare, damaged or lost art. He also curates and performs restorations for History101.nyc, the internet’s #1 source for rare & vintage NYC images. When he’s not creating or repairing graphics, he’s traveling the world, renovating properties and recording music.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Health & Safety Concerns

Are your wallpapers hypoallergenic, and how do they cater to individuals with severe allergies?

Our wallpapers are designed with health and safety in mind, catering to the needs of individuals with severe allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments. By selecting materials that are less likely to harbor allergens, our products aim to create a safer, more comfortable indoor environment. Additionally, we ensure our wallpapers are resistant to mold and mildew growth, further supporting the well-being of sensitive individuals.

How do your wallpapers ensure indoor air quality is not compromised?

Maintaining indoor air quality is a paramount concern for us. Our wallpapers are characterized by low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, adhering to stringent guidelines for indoor air quality. By minimizing the release of these harmful compounds, our products help ensure a healthier indoor environment, conducive to well-being and comfort. Through rigorous testing and compliance with industry standards, we ensure that our products maintain VOC levels that meet or exceed regulatory requirements, offering a safer choice for both residential and commercial spaces.

Are there any chemicals or synthetic materials used in your wallpapers that might trigger allergic reactions?

We are dedicated to producing wallpapers that are safe and non-irritating for all users, including those with allergies. Our products are formulated without the use of harmful chemicals or synthetic materials known to trigger allergic reactions, such as formaldehyde, phthalates, and heavy metals. This careful selection of materials underscores our commitment to health and safety.

How does your wallpaper resist mold and mildew growth, ensuring a safe environment for sensitive individuals?

Our wallpapers are engineered to resist mold and mildew growth, an essential feature for ensuring the safety and comfort of sensitive individuals. Through the use of inherently resistant materials and treatments, our products prevent the adherence and proliferation of mold and mildew, thereby promoting a healthier indoor environment.

What certifications do your wallpapers have regarding environmental and health safety?

Our wallpapers are backed by rigorous certifications that attest to their environmental and health safety. These include low-VOC certifications, compliance with international toxicity standards, and certifications for mold and mildew resistance. Through these certifications, we demonstrate our commitment to upholding the highest standards of safety and sustainability in our products. All materials are perfectly suitable for healthcare facilities, nurseries, retirement homes or any other environment where health is a primary concern.

General Wallpaper Questions

Is there a minimum square footage?

Yes, we have 50 square feet minimum per order.

What are the most popular sizes?

The three most requested sizes are 100, 300 & 500 square feet.

What is the maximum width x height you can print per roll?

The maximum roll size wisummaryh is 52 inches wide by 360 inches in length.

How can I make a payment?

We accept all major credit cards and company checks. Please note, a job ticket must be created and payment is required before we can start proofing/final production.

What is the standard turnaround time?

Once final proofs are approved, standard production time is 5-7 business days. Please note, production time may change depending on our current press schedule and how many specialty options have been selected.

Wallcovering Material Concerns

What kind of wallpaper material do you use?

Our wallpapers are a non-adhesive, fabric backed vinyl material which is installable via traditional pasting methods. They are available in matte, gloss, semi-gloss or textured coating/finishing options. We also offer peel and stick wallpaper.

Can I pick my own design/image?

Yes, if you provide high resolution artwork, we can print your custom design.

Is the material durable and washable?

Yes, ordinary dirt and smudges can be removed from the surface with a mild soap and warm water.

Is the material removable?

Yes, our wall coverings can be removed. Please note, all surfaces must be primed with a drywall sealer and water based primer prior to installation.

Do you provide installation services?

Unfortunately, we do not provide or recommend installation services, however the following article is a useful guide for installers: How to Prepare Wall Surfaces

Wallpaper Sample Questions

Can I see sample before printing my project?

Yes, you can order a press proof sample of your custom artwork. We offer four coating/finishing options: matte, gloss, semi-gloss and texture.

Can I see a digital proof before final production?

Yes, our pre-press department will provide two rounds of digital proofs for approval prior to final print production. Please note, any additional digital proofs will be billed accordingly.

Can you ship material/printed samples for my review?

We can not send out material/printed samples without a job ticket being generated into our system.


Guidance & Tips

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Place Order for Custom Samples12" x 12" Press Proofs Available in 4 finishing options.
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